Friday, May 22, 2015

Rude Mechanicals

Droid buddies
15 mm

I thought I'd do something fun with some of the robots I got in a recent order.  Honestly, these aren't the crispest figures out there, but with a bit of work I think they turned out... okay.  Any resemblance to anything else at all is purely coincidental.

Originals: HOF43, HOF45 and HOF70

Friday, May 15, 2015

Multiverse Apartment Block

The second kit Multiverse Gaming Terrain sent me for review is from their "Metropolis 15" line (which could just as accurately be called "Gotham City 15").  It's a small apartment or office building in a style I believe is called "brownstone" and is reminiscent of working-class boroughs of a 20th-century big American city.  Perfect territory for a pulp RPG, cops and crooks, or super-heroes themed game.

Each storey of this kit is a discrete unit, removable to change the structure's height and allow figure movement inside.  Being cocky from having one MDF kit under my belt already, I actually departed from the instructions for this one and assembled the storeys attached to their floors, rather than ceilings.

Apart from leaving walls around the rooms when it's opened up, this also allows assembly as a one-storey building, which isn't possible using the stock method.  I'm surprised this worked, but it did.

Not huge apartments, but big enough for some indoor drama.
As with the bunker kit, the fit was exceptionally precise and assembly was smooth.  The instructions are basic but fairly clear, pointing out a few tricky areas, but I still made one mistake: one of the end wall/window pieces (for the first floor rear) is different from the rest, and I didn't even notice until halfway through the build:

Remedied by cutting the decorative rectangles out by hand to match the others, and using it for an upper floor, but this really should be pointed out in the instructions as it's an intentional element of the design.  I've contacted Multiverse about this, and it should be clarified in an update.

The end result might not get painted for a while, but here it is!  Another strong initial offering from Multiverse.

"Let's move this fight to the roof!"

- perfect fit
- classic urban design
- large gaming space
- modular and expandable

- plain side walls when used as a stand-alone structure
- instructions need to be more detailed

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Multiverse MDF bunker - finished!

Continued from my previous post...

Multiverse has clear assembly instructions on their website in PDF format, so assembly is simple.  After ensuring everything dry-fit nicely, I began gluing.  I glued the surface applique to the outer walls first, since it made alignment easier and allowed me to press them flat with a heavy book.

The bunker's vertical walls are totally plain inside and I thought maybe they could use some detail too, but in the interests of getting this all done in a timely fashion, I resisted until later.

Rubber bands used to clamp the main walls and roof.
That flat, plain roof was still bugging me, so I added some details to make it into a VTOL landing pad.

... on the cheap: window screen and cardstock.
Once assembly was complete I gave everything a generous coat of spray primer.  As it turned out, I probably should have done this twice, since when I put the acrylic on with my airbrush it seemed to soak into the less-primed areas and leave an uneven finish.  But once I drybrushed and weathered it I think it turned out looking pretty good:

In retrospect, it would have been smarter to finish the inside before assembling the parts, as it's harder to do it afterwards.  But I came up with a decent solution: a printed cardstock "liner" to give it a more appealing (and customizable!) interior space.

This is supposed to be a review, so I guess I need to sum up my impressions of this set.  Some of these may be typical of many/all MDF kits but since this is my first, I'll just list them.

- attractive design
- excellent fit
- simple instructions
- easy to customize

- limited detail
- challenging to produce an even paint finish

Overall, as you've probably guessed, I really like it!  Most of Multiverse's designs are more elaborate, but if they're as well-made as this one they should produce great tabletop terrain for minimal effort, even for a beginner.

"I know you can hear us in there!  This can be easy, or it can be hard!"

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Multiverse MDF terrain: out of the box

Andrzej over at Multiverse Gaming Terrain made an enticing offer on Facebook recently: he wanted to send sample sets from his new laser-cut MDF terrain lines out for bloggers to review.  Because I'm not an idiot, I jumped at the chance. So the other day, I received two kits, "Command Bunker" and "Apartment Block".

Pics from the Multiverse website, with dimensions.
IKEA fans will appreciate "flat pack" terrain.
Being an MDF kit noobie, I wasn't sure what to expect from this puzzle-piece approach, but a quick dry fitting of the bunker kit was promising: everything just slid together snugly with no sanding and no wiggle room:

The surface detail is thin matte board and really improves the look of the outer walls; I feel the large, flat roof could use something similar.  But it'd be easy enough to customize with card or bits, which I may do later.  As for construction, Andrzej has told me that PVA glue and spray paint will work fine on these.  In my next post, I'll assemble the bunker and start painting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cult Movie Alien

Cult Movie Alien
15 mm scale

"Sorry to interrupt your recreation, fellows, but it is time for Sgt. Pinback to feed the alien."

John Carpenter's 1974 film, "Dark Star", is a weird, fun, low-budget story about a cranky crew of oddballs dealing with life in space and trying to save themselves from an intelligent bomb that has decided it wants to explode.  A major subplot features the shenanigans of a maliciously mischievous beachball-shaped alien (obviously made from... a beachball, and a pair of Halloween fright hands) which wreaks havoc on the ship while moving around via the ventilation ducts.

Dark Star was co-written by (and co-starred) Dan O'Bannon, who went on to write a rather more well-known 1979 film about a cranky crew of oddballs whose spaceship was destined to self-destruct, confronting a malicious alien traveling through the ventilation ducts:

"Look, we have actual money now!"

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Skyward Sentinel

Colabreta Anti-Air/APC Combo
15 mm scale

A distaste for excessive military production leads the People's Planetary Partnership to design flexibility into much of their equipment.  Although this armored infantry transport currently mounts a pair of radar-guided hypervelocity cannons to engage enemy dropships and ground attack flyers, the turret can be rapidly exchanged for a variety of other weapons, sensor suites, or even rescue apparatus for disaster emergency use.

Although it's often frustrating, I still find conversion to be fun and satisfying.  The AA turret here is made from an Ion Age "Moth 88" gun, plasticard, greenstuff and the end of a novelty pen.  Sometimes it's about working with what you've got in your bitz box and not being hung up on your original design (which was rather different).

Monday, April 06, 2015

Ten Years of Painting Agency!

What?  It's the tenth anniversary of my first post here?  How is this possible?  That's positively ancient in internet years.  To put it in perspective, in 2005 there was no Instagram, no Twitter, Facebook was for students only, and "Cool Mini or Not" was still my hobby website of choice.  I'd never painted a 15mm figure in my life, and this was my first work posted:

There have definitely been some changes over the years: fewer trivial WIPs and "look what I bought" posts, more comments and followers (thanks, guys!).  I got started painting smaller figures when I tried "Flames of War" WW2 models, and now I don't often paint 25/28 mm figures.  The 15 mm sci-fi renaissance has provided endless material that suits my new interests and time constraints.  On the downside, I think my technique has stagnated a fair bit from not being pushed, but I've also shifted my style to one which complements smaller sculpts.

Will I still be doing this in a few years?  I don't know, life goes on.  I certainly hope so, and right now I enjoy the synergy of painting/posting, and definitely appreciate all the feedback I get.